Nature near St. Louis
June 25, 2011 6:29 PM   Subscribe

Help me be outdoorsy in St. Louis, Missouri.

After several years in nature friendly cities, I'm spending the summer in St. Louis and need help scratching the outdoor itch.

I'm not picky--camping, hiking, mountain-biking, rock-climbing. Going alone's fine, but hooking up with a group would be even better.

Any recommendations? Places to check out? Ways to connect? I've checked but the scene is pretty sparse.

Any ideas are welcome!
posted by Karmacane to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The St. Louis Adventure Group is pretty active.
posted by aetg at 6:36 PM on June 25, 2011

Rock-climbing ... the best is a few hours south, in southern illinois:

You can do some climbing in cliffs along the rivers.
posted by allelopath at 6:46 PM on June 25, 2011

Mark Twain National Forest is nearby for camping and hiking. The Current River offers canoe trips (I did a 60-mile one a few years back). You can hike up the Cahokia Mounds (just kidding...mostly). If you have a car and some spare time, go to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. It's about four-five hours by car and is pretty amazing.
posted by mrfuga0 at 6:54 PM on June 25, 2011

Nice spots to hike:
Hawn State Park
Pere Marquette
Weldon Spring
Shaw Nature Reserve

There are campsites at Hawn and Pere Marquette as well.
Also, check out the Missouri Botanical Gardens. You'll forget you're in the city.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:58 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

You know, maybe there should be a STL meetup/hike sometime this summer?
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:02 PM on June 25, 2011

Mountain biking = Castlewood. Incredible diversity in terrains - hills, scree, mud flats, fast single track, etc, etc. There's also the Berryman trail.

There's lots of canoeing, floating etc down near Johnson's Shut-ins and that area (awesome geology, too).

Hiking, look at the Mo DNR site - there's a bunch of state parks down 44. There's also caves.

The whole damn area is karst topography, so there's people climbing (or at least rappelling) all over. YOu might want to head over to REI and see if there's some climbing clubs.

If you want some long-distance road bike rides, I've got a South City route that can be extended to almost 50 miles. There's also the Mississippi River trails up north of down town, all the old rails-to-trails in IL (and accesible from a bike-friendly bridge over the river), and the Katy Trail, which is chat but still road-bike friendly.

I've actually been looking for someone to ride with, if you don't mind an old (36) guy.
posted by notsnot at 7:04 PM on June 25, 2011

Oh, dammit, I forgot to mention the Arboretum (now called "Shaw nature preserve") and the Botanical Gardens. I literally have gone to the Missouri Botanical Gardens every week for the past year, skipping maybe three weeks. It's fantastic just to walk.

On preview, my wife mentioned this.
posted by notsnot at 7:07 PM on June 25, 2011

For a liberal interpretation of "near", you may consider checking out southern Illinois. Giant City State Park south of Carbondale is pretty great.
posted by brentajones at 7:50 PM on June 25, 2011

I just visited the Cahokia Mounds last weekend, which are just outside of St. Louis - they were rad.
posted by shrimpsmalls at 8:44 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's not mountain biking but I've been spending a lot of time on the Katy trail lately. Sometimes you're far to close to another damn McMansion, but it has it's moments.

There are a mess of canoeable rivers southwest of St. Louis.

Seconding on meetup, preferably not in the first bit of August.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:46 PM on June 25, 2011

Babler State Park and Rockwood Nature Reserve are both just southwest of St. Louis and they've both got lots of trails and springs.
posted by DaddyNewt at 11:50 PM on June 25, 2011

Thanks all! I'm not sure how I missed the Adventure group on I'll definitely explore.

And yes, a summer outdoorsy Mefi meet up would be fun. I'll post a notice. We can start talking dates.
posted by Karmacane at 1:30 PM on June 26, 2011

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